Friday, May 3, 2013

Rebecca’s Dairy Updates

                                   Winter in Purvis Gap

December 10, 1926
Hello Diary,
It has been years since I last wrote in you and that is because my sister Margaret ran away from home when I was eight years old. And she was only thirteen years old. She had a big fight with Ma and Pa about going to college. She graduated from the 12th grade at 13 years old and she wanted to complete college and then teach.
My sister Margaret has always wanted to be a teacher and I pray that where ever she is now---that she is one. I worried about her after she left---I was heart-broken---I could not eat or sleep. Pa had all the law men out searching but either they did not look long enough or did not care---either way I found them totally inept.
 The law men who came to our house had terrible grammar and spit brown juice out of their mouths. My brothers said it was tobacco---and all I can say is it was a nasty thing to do. It made their teeth brown and they appeared more unclean.
Ma and Pa were sick about Margaret leaving and my brothers searched with Mr. King’s bloodhounds until they stopped trailing at the
Mackie River Raft---no more scent because of the water. Pa said Margaret was a smart girl and since she outsmarted everyone---she would have to outsmart herself back home.
I could not write in my diary since my heart was broken---but it has mended some thanks to my brothers. Mark and Matthews are 22 and 24 years old and married with babies. Mark has Luke and John twin boys and they are two years old now---I love them so much. And Matthew has a little girl who is three years old.
Sometimes I baby sit with all three and it is so much fun---I don’t want to leave them. They all have blonde hair and blue eyes and are so sweet. I am their aunt and they call me Aunty Becca. These are the times that I wish with all my heart that Margaret was here. She would be 21 years old now and I miss her so.
 Now Diary I know you want to know about Johnny. My Johnny was so smart he is in law school and I am still waiting for him. I am a full grown woman at 16 years old. I graduated the 12th grade at 12 years old and took college correspondence lessons through the mail and now I teach here in Purvis Gap.
I help Ma around the house and I make her rest more as she is slowing down some. But not my Pa---he is still going full blast. My brothers have a big farm together and are doing well---and the most important part they are very happy with their beautiful wives and babies.
I will tell you more about my life later Dear Diary.
 Love Becca

Friday, March 8, 2013

Rebecca's Diary October 25, 1918---Harvest Time

October 25th, 1918

Dear Diary,

It seems forever since Johnny moved to Canada and I miss him so much. I love wearing the heart locket he sent to me. His sweet grandfather gave it to me after church a month ago. And in the locket is a photo of Johnny and one of me. I don’t remember this picture of me being taken---but I am happy it is in the locket with Johnny.

My parents are getting ready for the big Harvest Day Feast at church. It will be a fun day---but not as much---without Johnny here.

Sometimes our mail is not delivered regularly and for one reason---it has begun to snow on the North Passage of our main mountain trail. This will cause the mail to be even slower during the winter months.

Pa said he would be going to town tomorrow with some of the other church men and he would bring the mail back to everyone. I am so excited about it--- I cannot wait---because I know Johnny has written to me.

I rubbed my heart locket during the day because I missed Johnny so much. Sometimes---I just hold it in my fingers and gently rub it with my thumb. Margaret said I will rub the gold off--- if I do not stop. She is so funny---but she is a great sister.

Last night Margaret got in bed with me and read a story from her school Literature book. It was such a beautiful story about Harvest Time in another land where the children went fishing while their fathers used big machines to gather the harvest of corn, wheat, barley and rye.

The mothers baked and cooked quail, wild turkey and deer meat---they called venison. And grandmothers looked after the babies while the mothers worked.

The way my sister read the story made it come to life and I dreamed about it too. In my dream Johnny was driving a big machine and I was baking for the feast. We waved at each other from a distance and I blew him a kiss and he caught it. It was the best dream Dear Diary---I will try to continue the dream tonight.

Good Night


Friday, February 22, 2013

Rebecca's Diary of Appalachian Life in 1918

September 10, 1918

Dear Diary,

The house is silent and a little eerie as it seems to be telling me to read Johnny’s letter. I have not taken it from its envelope yet. I am anxious and a little afraid of the written words that will be waiting for me.

It is difficult for someone my age---almost nine (9) to be in love---but I believe I am---and now he is gone.

I am sitting by the window watching the full moon and writing my feelings to you Dear Diary---you are my best secret friend.

I will read his letter now:

Dearest Rebecca,

I feel like a criminal leaving without being able to tell you in person. However, my parents are here waiting down stairs for me to finish packing. They are taking me to Canada to live in our new home.

Canada is a beautiful place where the beauty of the land has not been ravished by logging companies yet.

I know Canada must seem like another planet to you---but I will be visiting my Grandparents in the summertime and then we will be together again. I send to you every day many hugs and kisses and I am counting the days until school is out for the summer.

You will always be my girl and please wait for me. Don’t forget to rub the rock I gave you---it is our good luck charm.

Grandpa will give you a gift I am sending to you in a few days. Our home is in the North Country and the school has a room for every grade. It will seem strange at first---but then everything new has to be an acquire lesson in life.

I close with all my love to you my Sweetheart.


Now I will sleep with his letter under my pillow---Good Night Dear Diary.

Goodnight My Johnny---I Love You.

© BEPH  2013 All Rights  Reserved                                                                                                     Love Letters

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rebecca's Diary September 9, 1918

September 9, 1918

 Dear Diary,

It was a little chilly this morning as Margaret and I walked to school. Margaret was quiet while studying her Latin---so I let my mind visit my fantasy day dream of what life would be like when I am grown at 18 years old.

We walked pass Blue Rock and Purple Rock and Johnny was not there. I got a funny feeling in my tummy and when this happens I always hear bad news. Margaret calls it Becky’s crystal ball tummy---so this morning I did not say anything to her about my feeling.

It was such a beautiful morning to have a dark cloud over my heart---but it was there all the same. I wish Johnny was here so I could tell him about it. But he was nowhere to be found and I asked all my friends if they had seen him. They all said no---and my heart was really gloomy now---I was sure I would not like it when I found out.

Miss Goodhall rang the school bell and we all lined up in order of our grades and when she nodded---we silently walked in and---took our seats. We were well behaved children with a few exceptions.

This is so precious---Angels singing.
When Miss Goodhall said “Children, Mr. Donovan has something to tell us about Johnny---so please listen.” I thought my heart had stopped beating and my mind froze---not one thought appeared in my active mind---and I listened with my heart.

Mr. Donovan was Johnny’s grandfather and he said, “I am sorry to tell you Johnny’s parents came for him last night because they have a new home waiting for him in Canada. Johnny was sorry he did not have a chance to say goodbye---but he promised to write to his friend very soon.”  Mr. Donovan looked happy after his little speech which tore my heart out.

And then the most unexpected occurred---Mr. Donovan walked up to my desk and handed me a letter from Johnny. My heart gave a mountain leap of happiness. I will read it tonight after everyone is asleep---just my letter and me.

© BEPH  2013 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 18, 2012

September 8, 1918

Dear Diary,


Today was a day I will never forget even when I am an old woman at 40 years old. Pa and Ma left for church early because they were going to sing a special song together that Pa wrote.

Margaret and I left home after my brothers did because Mark was going to meet his new girlfriend at the foot of Blue Rock. I was wearing my lucky green hat and Margaret was wearing her lucky homemade bracelet out of walnut shells. Pa had varnish the shells for her and drilled holes with his pocket knife so she could string them together side by side. These were very small walnut shells, and it looked so good on her wrist. We were prepared to help the luck flow in church when Pa and Ma sang their song.

As we walked our little path to church Margaret told me about a new boy maybe  moving to our Purvis Gap. His name is Lucas O’Shay and he is a cousin to one of Margaret’s friends who lives in Sullivan’s Gap. My sister Margaret is so popular I cannot remember all her friends because everyone knows my beautiful sister.

As we rounded the corner of Blue Rock my Johnny stepped out and said good morning to us and then held his hand out for mine. I looked into his green eyes and wonder if this was what the preacher meant when he spoke about “Biblical Love.” Did it give one a fluttering feeling in one’s tummy when Johnny held my hand? I will ask Margaret later.

Johnny and I sat with Margaret and Matthew. Mark was stilling with a pretty red haired girl, and he looked around at us and winked. My brother was so handsome---just like Pa.

When Ma and Pa stood in front of us all to sing their song---I could not breathe until the first words of their song came out:

I am yours my Lord; I work and wait for thee,

I live and work for thee,

I do unto to my neighbors with your love for thee,
-----only Thee
Our family is blessed by thee,

My children worships only thee,
-----only Thee
Our church is blessed by thee,

Where your word is carried with us through the week for thee
-----only Thee
We are your humble doers for thee,

Our walk is always with thee,

On the path to Heaven we journey for thee,
-----only Thee
Amen my Lord Only to Thee.


Ma and Pa sounded like Angels---and when they finished singing the church was silent---for a full minute my brother Mark said. Then everyone stood and clapped so loud and long that Pa and Ma turned red from all the praise. My sister Margaret said it was not proper to clap in church---but this was special so it was fine this time.

Johnny gave me a beautiful purple rock to put under my pillow he said--- so I would dream about him. Johnny did not know it---but I did not need that rock to dream about him or think about him. Johnny was in my dreams every night.

My Margaret said when she looked at my sleeping face in the morning I was smiling. My purple rock was under my pillow all day while I was at school. And the first thing I did when I came home I went into my room to make sure it was still there. I pick it up and feel the smoothness and kiss it before putting it back to sleep under my pillow.

I am sleepy now-- my Dear Diary---Good Night.

© BEPH  2012  All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Rebecca's Diary---September 7, 1918

September 7, 1918


 Dear Diary,

Ma called us early to get our chores done before 9:00 am, because it was going to be a busy day she said. Everyone had planned to meet at the Community Church to have lunch before the Ballgame. Our Ma had fixed for two days for this day because her sons were playing. And my Johnny was playing too. My Johnny, that sounds so good to whisper to myself.

Ma combed my hair out of my usual braids and let the curls bounce down my back---just like my beautiful sister---Margaret’s hair. Margaret said I was the one who was beautiful today---and I felt happy as I never looked in my mirror often. However, when I did I thought myself plain compared to Margaret.

Margaret looked like a younger Ma---Ma was the beauty of the mountains Pa said one night at supper. And my Pa knows everything. Pa kissed Ma often and in front of us sometimes, but mostly when they thought no one was watching. That is how I want my married life to be---just like theirs.

What a wonderful walk to the church---Pa and my brothers had carried all Ma’s baskets ahead of time. So Ma, Margaret and I walked to the church together. It was such a beautiful morning---the sunlight felt warm on my cool face. And Margaret and Ma kept looking at me in a sweet way.

Johnny and his Grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Donovan were in the church setting up the tables. When Johnny saw me, he turned to his Grandpa and said something. Mr. Donovan looked my way and smiled, then waved at us. Johnny finished helping then came and stood by my side.

Johnny took my hand and said I was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, with my dimples, blue eyes and blond hair---so blond it was almost white. And then he kissed the inside of my hand and then my wrist. Margaret was the only one standing with us---and I thought she was going to smile herself into next week.

I saw Ma and Pa looking at us---and in a second they were by our side. Pa shook Johnny’s hand and Mr. Donovan’s as he appeared suddenly. Pa said to Johnny---so you want to marry my baby girl someday? Johnny replied---Yes Sir, I do and I am going to college so I will be able to take care of her in the style she is accustomed to---thanks to you Mr. and Mrs. Lindberg.

My Pa said---Son, how old are you? I believe you have the manners of a full grown man and just as smart. And then Pa put his arm around Johnny as he again shook Mr. Donovan’s hand. And said---It looks like we may be in the same family one day. Then everyone laughed and I turned red in the face---I know I did---because I could feel it getting hot.

Our team won and Johnny ran across the field to kiss my hand again---and everyone clapped. Because my Johnny had won the game with his five home runs today.

What a wonderful day.

Good Night Dear Diary


© BEPH  2012  All Rights Reserved





Rebecca's Diary---September 6, 1918

September 6, 1918


 Dear Diary,

This morning Ma told us girls to wear a sweater and the boys their light jackets. She said we were so lucky to have new shoes for school. Because Pa sold the first harvest of his Walnut and Pecan trees and used the money to buy the family clothes for the fall and winter.

Some of the other children had new shoes, and Ma secretly gave our old ones to the children who had none. Ma has a tender heart and wants every child to have a good start in life. Her favorite saying is---Purvis Gap’s children are the future of our world. She has many saying---unlike our Pa who talks little and works hard.

I had on my blue sweater and blue dress this morning and brushed my blond hair until it shined. Because I was hoping Johnny would be waiting for us at the purple rock to walk with us to school.

Johnny was at the purple rock and joined us for our walk to school. We lived about a mile from school as it was more in a hollow by the General Store and Community Church. Johnny walked ahead of Margaret and me with my brothers. They were all talking about the baseball games and how great the play field was looking since the men who had trees to donate sent them to Mr. O’Conner’s sawmill; to cut into boards to make seats for the people that came to watch.

Johnny turned around before we got to school and winked at me and smiled. He asked me if I was going to the game to watch him play. And all I would do is smile at him and look into his beautiful green eyes. My brother Mark looked around at us and smiled but not my brother Matthew. Matthew said to Johnny---my baby sister is too young for you to like Johnny.

Johnny was as tall as Matthew and looked just as strong---and all of a sudden they stood nose to nose, eye to eye. My sister Margaret hugged me to her and she pulled me out of the way. Johnny said to Matthew---I know I am older---but I am going to marry your sister when she is old enough---I will wait for her. I will not let anything bad happen to her for the rest of our lives---and you might be able to beat me up now---but I can defend myself.

Matthew looked from Johnny to me and back to Johnny---Matthew said---Rebecca will have to choose who she will marry---but since she will be 8 years old in December 25th on Christmas Day---you will have a long wait.

So Johnny and Matthew parted as friends---maybe, and he turned and winked at me again.

Good Night Dear Diary.


© BEPH  2012  All Rights Reserved